This post is ancient. I just found it in my drafts folder and the photos date back to 2010, so it's long past time for finishing it and getting it up for you guys!
So, without further delay is my version of a tutorial for canning up tomato sauce.
For me the first step is to harvest fresh tomatoes from our garden beds.
After that I rinse them and roughly chop the tomatoes
Next I assemble my favorite kitchen canning tool that our family jokingly refers to as the Saucemaster 3000. It's actually called a Sauce Master Food Strainer and we love it. There are some design modifications that I'd make but this tool makes short work of pureeing fruits and vegetables for canning.
After it is assembled I simply feed the chopped tomatoes into the hopper on the top and turn the handle.
The Sauce Master squishes them and waste goes out one side into a waste bowl (later to be added to the compost pile) and sauce runs out another part.
Depending upon the harvest, I may fill that stainless steel bowl several times over before the grinding is done. When the bowl reaches about 2/3 full I empty it into the pot for reducing.
The next part is really the hardest part for me, the waiting. I have to heat the tomato puree slowly and stir often. It's a day-long process beginning with harvesting and pureeing the tomatoes in the morning and often the canning won't occur until after dark.
After a long day of simmering on the stovetop the sauce is thickened and ready to be canned.
Then I'll get my jars out and fill them with warm water and place them in the pressure canner. The canner is filled with about an inch or so of warm water. I put the lid on and turn up the heat on the burner to warm the jars. This step helps prevent jars from breaking when I later ladle the hot tomato sauce into them. When pressure canning you want your jars to be clean, but it's not necessary to boil them to sterilize them prior to filling the jars.
Next I'll fill a small saucepan with warm water and put in the lids. This process helps to soften the rubbery material on the lids to help them seal better on the jars. You just want to warm them, so keep the heat on your burner low during this step.
And then I'll lay out the tools I need for filling the jars - a clean cloth for wiping jars, jar lifting tongs, magnetic lid lifter, ladle, canning jar funnel, and jar rings.
In my house I don't have any countertops near the stove, so I roll over our portable dishwasher to create a workspace. I have a nice arrangement with my stove, the workspace, and the sink all in a line. It's convenient to have the sink so close to empty the water out of the jars. If you don't have that option, you could always set up a large bowl or pot to pour the water out of the warmed jars into.
The next step is filling the jars. Using your jar lifting tongs, take a clean warmed jar out of the pressure canner and empty the water into the sink. Then put a canning jar funnel into the jar. Ladle the hot tomato sauce into the jar and I like to stop filling as the sauce reaches the bottom of the funnel in my jars. That leaves about an inch of headspace. The headspace is needed space that allows the sauce to bubble up in the canning process and prevents it from spilling out of the jar. Spillage can result in seal failures, so you want to avoid it.
After the jar is filled, remove the funnel and use your clean cloth to wipe off any sauce that might be on top of the jar or around the sides of the jar. Then, using your magnetic lid lifter, remove a lid from the warm water and center it on top of your jar. Place a ring over it and tighten it over the lid.
After a jar is filled and the lid put on, it's placed in the pressure canner.
When all of the jars are filled the top is placed back on the pressure canner and the lid is tightened. For my particular model of pressure canner I then make sure the burner is on high and I watch the vent pipe for steam. When a steady stream of steam is coming out of the vent pipe I set a timer for eight minutes and let the canner vent. This is an important safety step, so you'll want to refer to the manual for your pressure canner for specific venting instructions.
After the venting is completed I place the weight over the vent. To pressure can tomato sauce I set the weight at 10 pounds of pressure. Then I watch the gauge and when it reaches 10 pounds of pressure I set the timer for 15 minutes. At my altitude I need to pressure can pints or quarts of tomato sauce at 10 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes. Again, check your manual if you're at high altitude for specific instructions.
Next, I turned the heat off on the burner and waited for the pressure to return to zero. I then waited about another five minutes as a safety precaution before I removed the lid. Then I used the canning jar tongs to carefully remove the jars from the canner. I cooled them on my hoosier top.
When the jars cooled completely I removed the rings and washed down the jars. I labeled them with the contents and date and stored them in a cool, dry place until we needed to use some tomato sauce.
I just wanted to make a note of sorts here at the end of the post. We don't season our tomato sauce at all when making it for canning. For us it's better to have it unseasoned during the canning process and later season it when we cook with it. Some herbs become very bitter when pressure canned and it's not a risk we want to take. Also, we use the tomato sauce in a variety of recipes and want to customize the seasonings for various dishes.
- A 40 something mama meandering through life with an eclectic 21 year old boy-man (the boy), an 8 year old girl (big girl) who is a ball of lightening, and a 4 year old girl (baby girl) who brightens our lives with her smiles. I'm grounded by my 40 something husband and partner (the hubster) whose quirky mannerisms brighten my days.
I've been a single mama, married mama, divorced mama, career mama, SAHM, and WAHM. There was a short time of my life when I wasn't a mama, but that was a LONG time ago!
I hold an AA, BS, and MA and most say I'm wasting them by devoting my intellectual capabilities and energy in the nurture of the wee ones that I've been entrusted to raise, but there is nothing else I'd rather be doing these days. :)
I love hearing from readers, so please share your thoughts and leave comments, too!